Sports Merch Is Getting Chicer

As a child growing up in ’90s-era Chicagoland, I was devastatingly aware that I was one of the chosen ones. The Chicago Bulls were my home team, and Michael Jordan my decorated commander, a lionheart I pledged to follow to the ends of the earth.

While classmates shaved Benny the Bull into the sides of their buzzcuts, I collected the limited-edition T-shirts that seemed to appear out of thin air after each championship. But in 1998, at the conclusion of Jordan’s “last dance,” the world returned to its axis. I loved the Bulls, but I was a big kid now and had real responsibilities, like third grade, to tend to. Over time, I relegated my small army of Bulls paraphernalia to the back of my closet, and by the time I regained interest in Bulls merch a decade later, something else had happened: The clothes had gotten really, really ugly — all bosomy graphic tees that spelled out “SPORTS” in rhinestones.

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